Grilling Planks have been used for years in the North where fish are abundant. There is nothing like putting a big piece of Salmon on a Cedar Grilling Plank and cooking that great wood flavor into the meat. Restaurants have started using Grilling Planks. It is said that the Indian’s in the Pacific North West put there fish on wood planks.
When using a grilling plank soak the wood for 30 minutes. It will cut down on the burn of the actual wood on the grill. You can use a grilling plank in your household oven as well. The meat touching the wood is what give the meat flavor.
It must be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling to avoid over-charring or catching fire. Rimmed sheet pans are perfect for soaking planks—just place a plank in the pan, add enough water to completely cover it, then weigh the plank down to keep it submerged (try using a medium-sized pot for this). I prefer to soak my planks for a minimum of an hour, flipping halfway through to ensure they’re evenly and thoroughly soaked.
I’ve read using other liquids to soak the plank—like apple juice or wine—add both a little flavor and aroma to the food being cooked on the plank.
The basic technique is offset cooking. The heat source is on one side of your grill and the wood with some meat on it is on the other.
That wood flavor will come through the food great.
A second method that has been used is putting an empty plank on the fire side of the grill. Let it smoke hot till it chars. Then flip it over and put your meat on the charred side. It’s also great for quicker cooking fish fillets planked on lighter woods to make sure they pick up flavor.
Along with these methods, it’s possible to grill on a plank over direct fire, which might kill the plank beyond reuse, but also produce more smoke and potentially more wood flavor. Another option is searing prior to planking, which would be preferable for something like steak that would just not be right without a well developed crust.
No matter what method you choose, it’s always a good idea to have a squirt bottle with water handy to smolder the plank if it catches fire. Or just add some extra moisture if any area of the plank seems to blacken too quickly.
As long as there’s still wood left, and the plank hasn’t been charred through, there’s no problem reusing the plank. To clean a plank,start by scrubbing it down with water and a scouring pad without soap—you don’t want soap soaking into the plank and staying there. If there’s some excess char or food that just won’t dislodge, then it’s time to bust out a piece of fine sandpaper and go at it until the plank is clean.
Once it’s washed, it’s important to let it completely dry out before storing it away to prevent molding.
You’ll enjoy playing with the new flavors from planking, light a fire, grab a plank, and get grilling!